Should You Buy Into the Adult Coloring Book Craze?

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Adult coloring books have been around for a long time, but it wasn’t till around 2012-2013 that they became commercially successful. 2015, however, was the year the adult coloring book craze spread all over the world.

Did you know that about 12 million adult coloring books were sold last year? 12 million! And it doesn’t look it’s going to stop any time soon.

What happened? Why are people suddenly buying into the adult coloring book craze?

The most commonly held belief is that adult coloring book benefits one’s health in more ways than one. This infographic sums it up.

benefits adult coloring books

So, adult coloring book benefits include:

  1. Stress reduction
  2. Mind relaxation
  3. Sparks creativity
  4. Reconnecting with your inner child
  5. Cultivating mindfulness
  6. Therapy value
  7. Fun value

Based on this list alone, it seems that you ought to go to the bookstore and grab all the coloring books you can, doesn’t it?

benefits adult coloring books


If you think about it, it does make sense. It’s not like art therapy is something new. The American Art Therapy Association provides a distinct definition:

A mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.

Just like other forms of therapy, a goal in art therapy is to improve one’s well-being.

So, does this mean that if you get into adult coloring books, you are saving yourself the cost of a therapist? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the American Art Therapy Association cautions the public about this trend.

The American Art Therapy Association supports the use of coloring books for pleasure and self-care, however these uses should not be confused with the delivery of professional art therapy services, during which a client engages with a credentialed art therapist.

I have to admit that I only tried adult coloring books once or twice, back in the days when they weren’t popular yet. Yes, the act of coloring was soothing, but I got bored pretty soon. So, I can easily understand and accept the American Art Therapy Association’s stand on the matter.

However, there are a lot of anecdotal evidence how individuals have experienced the benefits of adult coloring books (as shown above). Anecdotal evidence that cannot be ignored.

Sure, they may be akin to self-fulfilling prophecies, but if they help people, why not?

There is probably a “money to make” factor in here somewhere, but again, if people feel better because of adult coloring books, who are we to say nay?

On my part, I can see how the act of coloring can cultivate mindfulness. So, yes, I think that, if you like coloring or you simply want to give it a try, by all means go ahead.

Just remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. It may work wonders for other people, but it may not do much for you. Also, it’s best to remember that coloring in itself is not a replacement for a therapist.

Last words…don’t buy into the hype just because. Do it for solid reasons, for yourself.

Do you have any experience with adult coloring books? Why not tell us your story?

You might also want to read Painting What You Feel

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